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10 Best Chef's Knives, According to Cooking Experts

10 Best Chef's Knives, According to Cooking Experts

If you ask any professional chef to pick one kitchen tool, what would they pick? Obviously a knife. And not just a knife, a Chef's knife. Why? Because other knives used in the kitchen like the serrated knives or the paring knives have more specific and individualised uses but a good chef's knife can do it all. From slicing and dicing to more complicated tasks, like carving a chicken and cutting a pineapple.

How to choose the best chef's knives for you

When it comes to chef’s knives, there are two main categories to choose from: German knives and Japanese knives. They're not as dissimilar as one may think (and many knives actually combine aspects of both styles!), but here are the key points of differentiation worth noting:

German knives: Heavy and thick, especially at the bolster (where the blade meets the handle), German knives can be used for everything from mincing garlic to cutting through chicken bones. They have thicker blades that tend to be curved to facilitate rocking and are made from softer steel, so you’ll need to sharpen frequently.

Japanese knives: Lightweight and razor-sharp, western-style Japanese knives tend to have a thinner blade and straighter edge than their German counterparts, making them ideal for precise tasks like cleanly slicing cucumbers or tuna. And because they’re crafted from the harder steel, they can typically go longer between sharpenings but may be prone to chipping or cracking.

How we test the Chef's Knives

Our experts in the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab tested to find the best kitchen knives on the market. We tested with home cooks in mind and evaluated how well each knife cut and retained an edge after slicing and chopping through onions, chicken, cooked steak, carrots, and cheddar cheese. We sliced basil into fine ribbons, minced garlic and parsley, and sliced tomatoes. The most impressive knives were super sharp and made paper-thin slices of tomato with no effort at all.

We also checked the comfort of the handle and grip and the overall experience using the knife: We loved knives that rocked back and forth easily and ones that required little pressure to cut through the meat.

During testing, the details that stood out the most were how the handles felt in our hand and the weight of the knife. While heavier ones felt more sturdy, they tired our hands when it came to slicing hard ingredients like carrots. The larger handled, the lighter knives gave us more control, while the smaller handles knives allowed us to slice quickly and thinly.

Our top pick is the Wusthof 8-inch chef's knife. It's razor-sharp and super versatile, and it was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, and bone a chicken with ease. Below rounded up the top-tested knives that we think are universally appealing for everyone's needs — here are the ones that made the cut!

Here is a list of the top 10 Chef's Knives

We have sorted them with different perspectives, i.e. Best Overall Chef's Knife, Best Value Chef's Knife, Best Chef's Knife for Beginners, Sharpest Chef's Knife, Best Multi-Purpose Chef's Knife, Best Chef's Knife for Small Hands, Longest-Lasting Chef's Knife, Best Ergonomic Chef's Knife, Sturdiest Chef's Knife, Most User-Friendly Chef's Knife &
Most Versatile Chef's Knife

Best Overall Chef's Knife:

This W├╝sthof 8-inch chef's knife is razor-sharp and super versatile. It was one of the only knives in our test that could cleanly slice tomatoes, chop onions, cut up carrots, bone a chicken, and create thin ribbons of basil. The German classic is fully forged and has a full tang, which helps it feel perfectly balanced and ergonomic in your hand. It's dishwasher safe (a rarity for cutlery), but we recommend hand-washing to extend its lifespan.

Best Value Chef's Knife:
J.A. Henckels Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife

This excellent J.A. Henckels Classic Chef's Knife has the heft, shape, and performance of a splurge-worthy chef's knife but comes at a much nicer price point. It's a quintessential, all-purpose tool that does an ace job of blitzing parsley into dust, dicing onions, or deboning a chicken.

Best Chef's Knife for Beginners:

Pampered Chef's unique bolster makes it very easy and comfortable to hold. It practically guides you to hold the knife exactly how you should (by pinching the bottom of the blade.) The handle sits in the centre of your palm, making this knife a true extension of your hand.

This fully forged, high-carbon German steel knife cut through almost every task very easily. It also comes with a protective plastic covering, making it extra safe to store.

Sharpest Chef's Knife:
Global Santoku 7-Inch Chef's Knife

Global's Santoku is all stainless steel, so there aren't crevices that trap food. The blade also has hollow notches along the edge, so veggies don't stick as they're cut. This Japanese knife excelled at all tasks but wowed us with its ability to power through chicken bones. Also worth noting that it was one of the sharpest knives we've tested.

Best Multi-Purpose Chef's Knife:
Misen 8-Inch Chef's Knife

This multi-purpose knife from direct-to-consumer company Misen is made of Japanese AUS-8 high carbon stainless steel, which means it's tough, durable and super sharp.

The sloped bolster encourages the user to hold the knife properly (with a pinch grip), but regardless of how you hold a knife, you'll find the Misen knife feels balanced, sturdy, and comfortable in your hand. It's beautifully designed — knives of this quality typically cost upwards of twice as much.

Best Chef's Knife for Small Hands:
Shun Classic 6-Inch Chef's Knife

Shun's beautiful chef's knife literally glides through ripe tomatoes with its sharp edge. The rounded black pakkawood handle is comfortable even for small hands to get around, and if an 8-inch size (the most common length of a chef's knife) feels excessive and heavy, we think the 6-inch blade on this one will be a perfect fit.

Longest-Lasting Chef's Knife:
Kramer by Zwilling 8-Inch Chef's Knife

The Kramer by Zwilling J.A. Henckels Chef's Knife is one of the top-selling knives on Amazon. We've been using the same one for years and can vouch that it stays sharp a long time between honings. It does just as excellent a job at slicing through delicate ribbons of basil as it does ploughing through a rough-and-tough butternut squash.

Best Ergonomic Chef's Knife:
Victorinox Rosewood Forged 8-Inch Chef's Knife

The Victorinox Rosewood Forged Knife doesn't just look beautiful. In our testing, it made quick work of chopping parsley, slicing tomatoes, dicing onions, and even boning a chicken. The knife's gorgeous rosewood curved handle gives you a comfy, ergonomic grip.

Sturdiest Chef's Knife:
Mercer Culinary Renaissance 8-Inch Forged Chef's Knife

This Mercer Culinary chef's knife felt good in our hand from the moment we picked it up. It felt sturdy and not too heavy. With its high-carbon, no-stain German steel blade, it effortlessly sliced through tomatoes and cut carrots — we barely had to use any pressure because the blade was so sharp! It sliced through onions very easily, too.

Most User-Friendly Chef's Knife:
Made In 8-inch Chef's Knife

When there's a product everyone's talking about on the internet, we know we have to get our hands on it. The Made In 8-inch Chef's Knife did not disappoint. In addition to being very pretty to look at, it performed every cutting task well. We loved how easily it diced onions and how smoothly it sliced celery.

The Chef's Knife may be bought individually or as part of a 3- or 4-piece set. It comes in cute packaging that is not only safe and easy to open, but also instructs you how to hold the knife and how to use the entire blade like a pro.

Most Versatile Chef's Knife:
Wusthof Classic Craftsman Knife

We almost feel like we're cheating by including this knife in our "Best Chef's Knives" story. This 7-inch Craftsman is a chef's knife, boning knife and carving knife in one. That means it can perform all your chef knife tasks, like chopping and slicing, as well as boning and filleting with the tip and clean slicing with its "hollow-edge design."

This knife was a top-performer in almost every test. It was extra sharp and cut through chicken best. It even cut through bone without even trying. We also especially enjoyed slicing tomatoes and cutting carrots with this knife — it was almost too easy!

How to choose the right chef's knife

When shopping for the best chef’s knife, it’s important to hold them and get a feel for them if you can. Here's what to consider:

Handle: The first thing you’ll likely notice is the different handles and how they attach to the blade. Some are made of wood/wood composites, some of the plastic, and some of the metal. The type of material affects the weight of the knife, the feel of it, as well as the price.

Tang: Some knives also have a full tang, which means the blade runs through the handle and helps balance it.

Bolster: How the blade flows into the handle, aka the bolster, is another point of differentiation. Some are angled, while others are straight. We found that angled bolsters allow for a more protected grip, better for novices, while straight bolsters allow for a more controlled grip for chef’s who like to pinch the heel of the blade.

At the end of the day, finding your go-to chef's knife is largely based upon personal preference. What might feel, say, perfectly balanced to one cook may feel heavy to another. Our best words of advice: Look for a knife that feels like an extension of your hand and keep it sharp.

10 Best Chef's Knives, According to Cooking Experts


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